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The justice minister of Somalia’s autonomous Hirshabelle state, Khalif Mumin Tohow, has died after contracting the novel coronavirus, the second recorded death in the country.

Tohow died on Sunday in Mogadishu’s Martini hospital a day after he tested positive for COVID-19 in the town of Jowhar, the administrative capital of Hirshabelle.

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Ali Gudlawe Hussein, vice president of Hirshabelle, confirmed his death.

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According to local media, Tohow, who was Somali-British, traveled to the United Kingdom in February before he came back to the Horn of Africa nation.

Somalia registered its first death from coronavirus on Wednesday.

The patient was a 58-year-old man, Minister of Health Fawziya Abikar Nur said in a Tweet without giving additional details.

According to the Ministry of Health, the country has 21 confirmed coronavirus cases, including several government employees.

Joint Statement On COVID-19

Meanwhile, Somalia’s international partners express their solidarity with the Somali people and government at all levels in facing the global pandemic of the coronavirus (COVID-19).  They commend the Somali authorities for the measures they have taken to date to contain the spread of the virus, including awareness-raising, quarantine measures, and social distancing.

They note that the spread of the virus is a universal challenge and one that must be faced together.  They underscore that this is a time to unite to confront this unprecedented challenge.  The response will require unity, and for conflict and violence to be set aside.  The partners recall the appeal of the United Nations Somalia Secretary-General for a global ceasefire and lend their strong support to this call.  They strongly encourage all parties and communities to end conflict.  They call on al-Shabaab and other groups to cease acts of violence and terrorism and to enable assistance to reach all communities in need.

The partners urge the FGS and all FMS leaders to resume without further delay constructive collaboration to advance national priorities and to collaborate to mitigate the threat of the virus. They noted that legitimate political differences will require dialogue and the willingness to forge consensus. All Somalia’s leaders, in the federal government, federal member states and Parliament must continue their important work, using web-based meeting options if necessary.

The virus requires unity not only within countries but between neighbors and the region.  The partners encourage Somalia and the countries of the region to reduce infection, reinforce health systems, and strengthen community resilience, as well as to keep key trade routes open, and facilitate vital private financial flows.  The partners commend the initiative taken by the African Union Commission Chairperson in convening an emergency ministerial meeting on COVID-19 on 22 February 2020, and the declaration of the Summit of the IGAD Heads of State and Government on 30 March 2020.

The social and economic effects of COVID-19 are far reaching, and further compound the debilitating consequences of conflict, desert locust infestation, droughts and perennial flooding that impact the most vulnerable populations.  The partners call on Somali authorities and private land owners to suspend evictions of displaced persons for the entire duration of the COVID-19 response.

The partners welcome the development of Somalia’s COVID-19 Response Plan and appeal for all stakeholders to support it and align and coordinate their assistance with its priorities.

The partners thank the Federal Government of Somalia for enabling operations and international support to continue, and reaffirm their commitment to assist Somalia to respond to the impact of COVID-19.

African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), Canada, Denmark, Egypt, Ethiopia, European Union, Finland, France, Germany, Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Uganda, United Kingdom, United Nations, United States.

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